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Zuckerberg Lobbies For More Liberal Immigration Policies 484

Posted by timothy
from the old-immigrants-vs.-new-immigrants dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mark Zuckerberg, along with other notables such as Google's Eric Schmidt, Yahoo's Marissa Mayer and Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linkedin, has launched a new immigration reform lobbying group called FWD.us. In an editorial in the Washington Post, Zuckerberg claims that immigrants are the key to a future knowledge-based economy in a United States which currently has 'a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants.' As expected, they are calling for more of the controversial H-1B visas which reached their maximum limit in less than a week this year, but those aren't the only things they're looking to change."
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Zuckerberg Lobbies For More Liberal Immigration Policies

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  • by rgbscan (321794) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @02:40PM (#43425167) Homepage

    Choice quotes from a recent article on H1B visas I read over at Cringley...

    "There is a misconception about the H-1B program that it was designed to allow companies to import workers with unique talents. There has long been a visa program for exactly that purpose. The O (for outstanding) visa program is for importing geniuses and nothing else. Interestingly enough, the O visa program has no quotas. So when Bill Gates complained about not being able to import enough top technical people for Microsoft, he wasn’t talking about geniuses, just normal coders."

    and on later......

    "Last year, nearly half of the H-1B visas went to companies like Infosys and Wipro, not marquee companies like Google and Microsoft. Companies such as Infosys are the workhorses of Silicon Valley, large IT firms that churn out the industry’s unglamorous connective tissue: things like boilerplate coding, user support, and network maintenance.

    So, why does the US need to import labor for this lower-skilled work? Matloff says it has to do with wages and immobility. He argues that since employers sponsor H-1Bs visas, foreigners have a limited ability to negotiate higher salaries or switch jobs. If they do manage to change employers, it means they must restart any green card applications. Matloff says these realities “handcuff” H-1B visa holders to their employers. "

    and further on...

    "There are a number of common misunderstandings about the H-1B program, the first of which is its size. H-1B quotas are set by Congress and vary from 65,000 to 190,000 per year. While that would seem to limit the impact of the program on a nation of 300+ million, H-1B is way bigger than you think because each visa lasts for three years and can be extended for another three years after that.

    At any moment, then, there are about 700,000 H-1B visa holders working in the USA.

    Most of these H-1B visa holders work in Information Technology (IT) and most of those come from India. There are about 500,000 IT workers in the USA holding H-1B visas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 2.5 million IT workers in America. So approximately 20 percent of the domestic IT workforce isn’t domestic at all, but imported on H-1B visas."

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:07PM (#43425477) Homepage Journal

    And there you have the crux of the problem. The U.S. absolutely refuses to enforce the laws behind H1-B visa. As a matter of fact we don't NEED more laws about H1-B enforcement. We simply need to enforce the laws that are there.

    If you think that there isn't an effort to skirt the law, watch this video. [youtube.com] It pretty much shows the true intention these H.R. "professionals" have with H1-B and they're doing their activities out in the open.

  • Re:FWD.us? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mbkennel (97636) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:42PM (#43425849)

    In reality, companies would hire more US residents because the burden of working very remotely lowers productivity and engagement.

    They might start opening offices in Cleveland, Denver or St. Louis and pay US citizens the same wages which they pay H1B in San Jose.

  • Re:FWD.us? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:01PM (#43426053)

    As someone living in the US on an H4 (spouse of an H1-B), I call bullshit. Have you ever been through the process of getting an H1-B?

    The company had to post the job opening in at least 3 different places (local newspaper, job search site and a 3rd I can't remember) for 3 months and justify why the US applicants that replied where not suited for the job. After that, they had to file a Labor Condition Application that states the H1-B will receive the same average wage for the area of work as a US resident doing the same job, and that they will give to the H1-B exactly the same benefits as they're giving their US residents workers. The purpose of this is to guarantee that by hiring an H1-B they are not lowering the US residents standards.

    It costs MORE time and money (at a minimum they have filing fees and attorney's fees) for a company to get an H1-B than it costs to get a US resident. Not that I find that wrong, mind you, it's just that saying the US isn't protectionist is a big fat lie.

  • by Vicarius (1093097) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:49PM (#43426659)

    International undergrad students tend to pay themselves. Grad students, especially in tech, tend to have grad school grants. Until recently they expected to go home first before reapplying for jobs. Or hope to find an employer that would pay the $30K or so for bypass paperwork. But recently a small number of visas are for immediate graduates. Tech companies want any such limit removed.

    You have some incorrect information here.

    International students indeed pay themselves. They always pay out-of-state rate and cannot qualify for state resident status no matter how many years they lived there. Some have grants or scholarships or TA/GA positions in grad school, just like any other grad student.

    Some students come here on J-1 visas and they are required to go back home for certain time before coming back.

    Most students come on a regular F-1 visa. They are not required to go back to be able to change their status.

    Not entirely sure about J-1 students, but F-1 students are not allowed to work outside of campus. They are allowed to work on campus for 20 hours per week. Usually it is a minimum wage job.

    All of the foreign students get about year and half of OPT (Optional Practical Training), which basically allows them to work to gain some experience.After OPT, J-1 students go home and F-1 students try to get a job and H1-B visa to continue working. H1-B is issued for 2-3 years and can be renewed up to maximum of 6 years. Before H1-B expires, students (now workers) try to apply for Green Card. It is a lengthy process - could be several years. None of the experience gained on the current job can be used to justify Green Card application.

  • Re:FWD.us? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @06:37PM (#43427897)

    As I know people on H1B can't be paid less than their US colleagues because you wouldn't be able to get H1B if they offer you smaller salary than average for this position.

    (1) There is literally zero dollars allocated in the federal budget for enforcement of that provision.

    (2) That provision is full of loopholes. Like this one:

    Note that section (p) requires that the Department of Labor set up four prevailing wage levels based upon skill but section (n) only requires a prevailing wage for occupation and location. There is no statutory requirement that the employer pick the skill level that matches the employee.

    Let's see this in action. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the mean wage for a programmer in Charlotte, NC is $73,965. But the level 1 prevailing wage is $50,170. Most prevailing wage claims on H-1B applications use the level 1 wage driving down the cost of labor in this instance by nearly a third.
    What Americans don't know about H-1B visas could hurt us all [cringely.com]

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @06:54PM (#43428049)

    The current 2.2% SWE unemployment figure

    Does not include anybody who has switched to waiting tables because they have to make ends meet. Of course most of those people will never get another SWE job because of the prejudice that says anybody who has been out of the field for a year or two must not be any good. Hellooo! Have any of the hiring geniuses who take this attitude been out in the job market lately? I've known lots of very good people who were out of work for that long. This is about perceptions and prejudice, not quality.

    Sure, I'd have no problem hiring them away from another company if they want to leave, but that does zero to solve the resource shortage.

    Yes, it does. It's based on a principle called a "market". The idea is that if a "resource" (formerly known as skilled people) is in short supply, then the price will rise. Hence more people will enter that market, and the "shortage" will disappear. I know it's a radical idea, but it just might work.

    Please note that this response is not always instantaneous, particularly when dealing with a "resource" that may require years of education. Unfortunately many of our tech "leaders" have tantrums when they don't get what they want immediately. They figure that since they can fire as many people as they want at a moment's notice, they should be able to hire as many people with specialized skills as they want at a moment's notice. If this is not possible they suddenly turn socialist and ask the government for help. Once satisfied by the government's largesse, they immediately revert to being capitalists.

    An interesting history lesson: at one time many tech and business leaders seem to have more emotional maturity than a five year old, and were less prone to throwing tantrums. Old fashioned folks opine that this was because they were taught by a mommy government that didn't immediately give in to every demand. Many of these leaders learned to fend for themselves more, just like grownups! For example, knowing that large numbers of highly skilled people couldn't be hired at a moment's notice, they would retain many of the skilled people they had hired, even when business wasn't great. In the short term this reduced their company's profits, but like mature people they were willing to make that sacrifice for the delayed gratification of having those people available when business improved. For example, IBM instituted a no layoffs policy in the midst of the Great Depression. Note to younger readers: as hard as it may be to believe, this is actual history, not a fairy tale.

  • Re:FWD.us? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Thursday April 11, 2013 @11:42PM (#43429645)

    They are acting in the best interest of the citizens.

    The best interest of US citizens would be to make sure that OUR citizens filled those spots at citizen market rates

    You are repeating the Lump of Labor Fallacy [wikipedia.org]. An economy is not a zero-sum-game with a fixed number of jobs to be "filled". If more workers are available, business will expand. As the workers set up households and buy products, they generate more jobs in other industries. Immigrants don't "steal" jobs, because the economy expands. This is not just theory. When Poland and other central European countries were admitted to the EU, most countries in Western Europe enacted restrictions to keep them from "stealing" jobs. Only Britain and Sweden allowed them to come and work. Over the following years, Britain and Sweden had lower unemployment than the more restrictive countries.

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